9 May 2007




Wednesday 9 May at 15:04 UTC, i.e. 16:04 local time, the "Escola Secundaria de Estarreja, CT6ESE in Estarreja, Portugal, established a radio contact with US astronaut Sunita Williams, KD5PLB, on board the International Space Station.


The Estarreja Secondary School is one of the largest in Central Portugal with 1200 students and 57 classes that range from the scientific areas of IT, Mechanics, Electronics and Robotics Engineering, to Chemistry and Biology. The school also has a tradition in the teaching of foreign languages with departments of English, German, French and Spanish. There are classes from the 7th to the 12th grade (pre-university) and the school issues European Union Level 4 professional qualifications in the Engineering classes. The school also hosts an Aveiro University branch with a class of 20 students from Electronics and Automation Engineering


The technical team of Estarreja set up a satellite station with automatic antenna tracking under the supervision of the school contact coordinator Jose Emanuel Ribeiro de Sa, CT1EEB.


The school got the educative callsign CT6ESE and a special authorisation for this contact from ANACOM, the Portuguese Telecom Authority. Moreover. Only licensed students put the questions to the astronaut.


At 15:04 UTC contact with NA1SS was established. Astronaut Sunita Williams answered accurately 11 questions. She explained for example the last extra vehicle activity (EVA). The signal was very strong all the time and the audio quality always excellent. The audience in the shack room was about 200 people.


The contact was covered by a nationwide TV station, newspaper and radio station and by a local TV station.


The school contact coordinator Jose Emanuel Ribeiro de Sa and the participating students were very enthusiastic about the successful ARISS contact.


73, Peter Kofler, IN3GHZ, ARISS mentor

Estarreja audio